Last month we kicked off a new round of Proto-#Bond_age_ screenings with Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931). While sampling some pre-code double agent Garbo action proved to be a treat for everyone, the melodrama lacked certain espionalogical thrills. (You heard me. I said Espionalogical.)
Now that we’ve gone waaaay back into the history of talkies to mine one of the earliest examples of spy cinema, let us jump forward four years to 1935 where we’ll pick up with Alfred Hitchcock and his first of many forays into the world of spy shenanigans. Featuring dashing leading man and bristling with wry humor, The 39 Steps is a far more proficient thriller and one of the early masterworks of Alfred Hitchcock and an essential viewing for, well, just about everyone.
Join #Bond_age_ on Wednesday, March 7th for the live tweet of Alfred Hitchcock’s sublime spy thriller The 39 Steps starring Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat’s ‘stache.
On March 2nd, Craigers turns 50! To celebrate, #Bond_age_ is cracking open a big bottle of Cowboys and a pint of Aliens. That’s right. It’s the #Bond_age_ live tweet for which you’ve all been waiting. It’s Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde in Cowboys & Aliens!
For those of you that haven’t seen Cowboys & Aliens, there’s truth in advertising. While the title may seem like a dead giveaway of certain stupidity (and that might be true) — Cowboys & Aliens offers fun, pretension-free slice of action absurdity. It never stood a chance with audiences or critics (and you’ll see why), but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed far worse movies.
Don your best party hats and join #Bond_age_ for the Cowboys & Aliens Live Tweet on Wednesday, February 28th @ 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag. Also consider some liberal usage of #CowboysandAliens and/or #HappyBirthdayCraigers.
I’m going to be completely frank with all you good people. I’ve either seen or sampled most of the movies we live tweet here at #Bond_age_, but I wouldn’t know A Dandy in Aspic from any other Dandy. I’ve never seen this movie and I suspect you haven’t either. I’ve always intended to give it a spin due to the star wattage involved. Laurence Harvey. Tom Courtenay (who will also reappear in Otley in a few months). Mia Farrow. Peter Cook. It was also the last film the great Anthony Mann ever directed. He died of a heart attack midway though filming, and Laurence Harvey completed the production after his passing.
Here’s the great irony of A Dandy in Aspic — okay, maybe it’s not *great* irony, but it is a mildly hmmm-worthy one — after setting it aside for the Year of the Spy 1968 series years ago, I completely forgot to include the film in the teaser reel I created for the live tweet series. Going back now and adding it feels disingenuous. I’m no George Lucas.
Eberlin (Laurence Harvey) is a Cold War Russian counter-espionage agent working in Moscow as a double agent where he’s given orders to assassinate the KGB agent named Krasnevin. This presents a problem for our hero, because he is Krasnevin. INTRIGUE! DOUBLE CROSSING! Eberlin partners with Tom Courtenay’s Gatiss, a sociopathic British agent, to get down to the bottom of things. So basically it’s like Atomic Blonde without the sexy bits.
Join #Bond_age_ for the A DANDY IN ASPIC live tweet on Wednesday, Feburary 21st @ 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.
All #Bond_age_ programming appears on the Programming page the day of the live tweet.
#SteeleTweet marches on through Remington Steele’s second season. We’re skipping a rather forgettable episode and moving along to Episodes 19 and 20.
Our first episode, “Dreams of Steele” features Judith Light in a yarn about gems that the Steele Agency is hired to protect but turn out to be fakes! Steele and Laura must get down to the bottom of things. As they do.
Up next, “Woman of Steele” features some nice trademarked Steele cinematic callbacks and then wife of Pierce Brosnan Cassandra Harris (For Your Eyes Only). Unlike the prior episode, Steele and Co. is hired to protect a bunch of artwork at an exhibition — this time the paintings are real but a lady swindler returns from the dead to throw Laura into a tizzy.
Join #Bond_age_ for Remington Steele Vol. 16 on Wednesday at 9pm ET. The second episode begins at 10pm after a short break to mix new drinks. Follow #Bond_age_TV hashtag.
Some time ago, #Bond_age_ live tweeted a few movies that were released before Dr. No. We called them Proto-#Bond_age_ and classed this place up a little bit with some #TCMParty vibes. We did North by Northwest, Arsene Lupin, Sherlock Holmes and a couple episodes of The Falcon.
To broaden the scope of #Bond_age_ and scratch off some more movies I’ve always intended to see, I figured it was time to toss on a few classics and see where “going legit” takes us. Unlike some of the other ongoing series I don’t really have an agenda or master plan. We’ll wind our way through classic spy and espionage cinema until we end up back at 1962.
I wanted to start with Fritz Lang’s silent masterpiece Spies, but that’s a damn long silent movie for a live tweet, especially when I’m trying to spur some interest in a new #Bond_age_ series. Greta Garbo seemed like a better first option. Therefore…
Please join #Bond_age_ for Mata Hari (1931) on Wednesday, February 7th @ 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.
We kick off this year’s Year of the Spy retrospective with Richard Donner’s swinging Salt & Pepper starring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Lawford. This big studio caper concerns two nightclub owners that become unwitting (witless?) participants in matter of British national security when a spy turns up dead in their club and MI5 hires them to help foil the plan.
Salt & Pepper is first a comedy — if you couldn’t tell — but Salt & Pepper goes off the mainstream rails when it incorporates a couple of relatively unsettling scenes of violence. For a comedy. I’ll defer to this quote from Roger Ebert’s review from October of 1968 to summarize the audience at which Salt & Pepper is aimed. It says all you need to know about the film in one sentence of criticism. It is both a ringing endorsement for our purposes and certain damnation for an average moviegoing audience.
“About the first thing we learn in the movie is that Sammy Davis Jr., plays Salt and Peter Lawford plays Pepper. But Davis is black and Lawford is white — get it? If you found it funny, this is your movie.”
#Bond_age_ kicks off YEAR OF THE SPY 1968 with Richard Donner’s Salt & Pepper on Wednesday, January 31st at 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.